By Eileen Flynn ’20
The Providence College Women’s Ice Hockey Team wrapped up their regular season on Feb. 23 when they defeated the #8 Boston University Terriers on the road. The team finished with an impressive 22-10-2 overall record and as the no. 4 seed in the Hockey East. The team’s win against Boston University puts them in the perfect position heading into the Hockey East Tournament in March.
Christina Putigna ’19, one of the captains of the Friars, led the team to a 2-1 victory despite first trailing 1-0. Putigna sniped the top corner on BU’s goaltender during a power play at the beginning of the second period to change the momentum of the game. Putigna was on the ice for the second goal as well. She passed it off to Meaghan Rickard ’20, who left it for Whitney Dove ’20 to finish the job. Putigna has been a key player for the Friars this year and will definitely play an important role in the upcoming tournament.
When asked about her last regular season run as a Lady Friar, Putigna said, “This has been, and still is something so special to me because this group has accomplished so many great things, considering the coaching change that happened this summer.” Matt Kelly spent his first season with the Friars this year as head coach. As a former head scout for the USA Hockey and Women’s National Team, as well as an assistant coach to the women’s ice hockey team at Clarkson University, Kelly was a perfect fit for the job.
Although it was hard for Putigna to pick her favorite game this year, the victory that she and her team had over Northeastern two weeks ago stuck out in her mind. “Our team brought so much energy, we played with a lot of heart, and it felt like everyone was at the top of their game. There was a lot of good bench and locker room encouragement and support even when we were trailing.” The game went back and forth for the first two periods, forcing both teams to battle for control. Since Providence fell to Northeastern the day before, the team came with renewed energy, wanting to split the weekend with the Huskies. Putigna helped advance the score for the Friars and ultimately clinch the win, 5-2.
Looking forward, the Friars have a tough week of practice before they begin their run in the Hockey East tournament. The team has faced the ladies on the Merrimack College team three times so far this season with a record of 2-0-1. The latest puck-drop against the Warriors took place on Feb. 1 at Merrimack. The Friars took an early and quick 2-0 lead, but could not hold on to it for the rest of the game. Merrimack came back and tied Providence, causing the teams to advance to overtime.
Although both teams had a power play opportunity, the score remained the same at the sound of the final buzzer. Putigna is excited about facing the team again next week. “Merrimack is a great opponent for us to face.” When asked what her team learned from playing Merrimack in the regular season, she responded, “I think previous success stemmed from our defensive play. When our team is playing really great defense, we have a lot of confidence in the corners of our defensive zone and along the walls in the offensive zone and are able to sustain pressure.”
Putigna and the rest of the senior class are looking forward to leading their team to victory one last time. “The older group brings and sets the tone for the game. When the tone is set, it is a lot easier for the team as a whole to buy in.” Putigna and the Friars have already had a successful season, having reached the 20-win mark for the first time since the 2010-11 season.
However, the team is not done and is expected to face Merrimack head-on. Putigna is playing her last games in a Friars jersey with her teammates and now friends that she has made along the way, and she is ready to make her team proud one last time.